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Top tips on saving money when grocery shopping

It’s a regular routine but most people don’t realise that you can save money when you go grocery shopping. Despite the number of special offers and food deals around, most people don’t realise how to grocery shop on the cheap. Follow these simple tips, and you will see reap dividends in the long run.

Only buy in bulk when you know you’ll save money

Bulk-buying makes a lot of sense for various items such as toilet rolls, bin bags and detergents, but when it comes to food, one must be careful of what to buy.

If you buy a bulk of fruit and vegetables, and most of them end up going bad, you’re not exactly saving money but some food may last a long time such as cereals, pasta, oil, and rice.

The same applies if you spot a special of ‘buy 2 get another free’. If it’s too much for you, don’t buy it even if it’s a good offer.

lady pushing shopping trolley

Reduce the number of junk or ready-made food

Not only are they expensive, but they tend to be small in portions and they have less nutritional value. So why pay money for something which has no value? We are all guilty of having those lazy days where you can’t be bothered to cook food and stick a pizza in the oven but cooking your own food is not only cheaper but healthier too.

Eat junk food at home instead of at restaurant or takeaway places.

It may sound a bit hypocritical since it follows up from the previous section about eating less junk food but since most of us will eat junk food now and then, it’s pretty obvious that purchasing them from the supermarket is much cheaper than your local takeaway restaurants. So if you are having those ‘can’t be bothered to cook moments’, put the pizza in the oven instead of ordering takeaways.

Buy frozen vegetables

There’s no doubting that fresh vegetables are the best way to live a healthy lifestyle but if you are struggling to eat all the vegetables before it rots, eating frozen vegetables (after cooking it of course) are almost as good as eating fresh vegetables. The fact that you will store it in the freezer means that they can last for a long time and are available whenever they are needed. This is especially the case if you live alone as it means that you are able to have more variety as well as less waste.

Try out the store branded products

Most major supermarkets have their own branded products on just about every aisle and they tend to be cheaper than the popular names i.e. Heinz tomato ketchup versus store branded tomato ketchup.

Only use coupons for things you are planning to buy

If you regularly receive vouchers in the post or spot them in the newspaper, it’s very easy to think that you are saving money but you are only saving money if it’s a product that you need and regularly buy. For example, if you can get discount on chilli oil, it’s not a necessity so purchasing discounted items if you don’t need it does not save you money.

Avoid driving back and forward frequently to the supermarket

traffic jam Making frequent trips to the supermarket to buy just one item will result in you incurring excessive fuel costs.

You can easily avoid this by keeping a list on the fridge and immediately write down whenever you are low on any stocks. That way, you are not forced to go back to supermarket because you forget to buy the milk. With the list, you know exactly what to buy and you are less likely to forget anything.

Shop at two different food stores

Again, this might be slightly hypocritical as the previous bullet point requires you to reduce the amount of driving to supermarket to save petrol money. However, this is a different case. There is no one supermarket that has the monopoly and the cheapest prices for everything. So if you happen to pass by another store on the way home, you may find certain items cheaper. Or you can switch between different stores every other week to give you the options and possibly save money at the same time.

Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry

It’s pretty simple: if you are hungry, and you are going to a place which stocks thousands of different type of food, your taste buds will start going. Suddenly, everything looks delicious and you want to buy everything. It’s not an easy tip to follow as maybe you have decided to pop into the local supermarket unexpectedly or along the way. If that’s the case, then avoid the temptation of buying too much unnecessary food.

Try to go shopping without the kids

We’ve all seen it before: the parents have to put with the constant requests from their young kids, who will eventually throw a tantrum if they don’t get what they want. So the novelty toothbrushes, cartoon-based crisps and junk food are then placed in the trolley to make them happy.

Wherever possible, try to leave the kids with a trusted guardian if you have a major grocery shopping trip to do. You will save money and it will be a less stressful experience for you too.

lady carrying a small child and grocery bag

Shop Online

It may be worth considering shopping online; if you live some distance from the supermarket this can save on the cost of fuel as well and time and effort. In addition to which it avoids impulse buying. Each supermarket makes different charges for delivery so you should check before ordering e.g. orders delivered mid-week are usually cheaper and some offer free delivery for large value, mid-week orders.

Cashback

If shopping online (for anything, not only groceries) it maybe possible to use one of the cashback sites. These list companies that offer cashback on orders made through their sites. There is no charge for this and even small cashback amounts can add up.


TIPS

As supermarkets hold thousands of lines it can make comparisons very tricky but there a few things of which to be aware.

  • New packaging and/or product design can mean paying extra for the contents.  Recently it has become common practice for manufacturers to keep the packaging looking the same whilst reducing the contents.
     

  • Giant or Value packs are not always cheaper;  it is imperative to check the cost of all sizes to find the best value.  Most of the large supermarkets have a price per 100g or per unit on the shelf label which is a great guide when comparing prices.
     

  • Always check on lower level shelves to find the best offers as higher profit items are always placed at eye level.
     

  • Watch the till at the check out as mistakes are often made.
     

  • Buy foods in season when they are not only at their best but also at their cheapest.
     

  • When buying large items it is always worth asking for a discount or additional free items.
     

  • Try bartering - if you grow vegetables exchange them for someone else's home made pickles, jams etc. You can also trade skills e.g. babysitting, sewing, gardening, DIY etc.

 


 

 

 

 

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